When Alice In Chains started playing again in 2005, three years after the death of frontman Layne Staley, fans clamored for a new album.
But it still took another four years for the group to make and release “Black Gives Way to Blue,” its first batch of all-new music since 1995.
“The reason it took so long is that’s just what it took,” says guitarist Jerry Cantrell, adding that an album “wasn’t the inevitable outcome of us getting back together.
“When we played those shows, we were celebrating the music, celebrating the connection with our fans who are still there for us and kept the music alive while we weren’t out there — and also (celebrating) our life with Layne and the music that we wrote with him and dedicated our lives to creating. That’s what that was about. It really wasn’t a foregone conclusion that we’d do (an album).”
However, he notes, “you get musicians together for any length of time like that, they’re going to be creative.” And AIC’s fans have certainly been there for “Black Gives Way to Blue.” The album — which features original members Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, longtime bassist Mike Inez and new singer William DuVall — debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, while two singles — “Check My Brain” and “Your Decision” — both hit No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
“Check My Brain” was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock performance earlier this year.
“This is our profession of choice,” Cantrell, 43, notes. “We made the decision, ‘OK, let’s give this a shot. Let’s to through this process and see if we can ... start a new chapter to an old book.’
“You don’t just play the old songs everyday. In sound checks, dressing rooms, wherever, you mess around with your instruments, and we document all the stuff and at the end of those couple of years of touring, had a ... load of stuff, and it was really good.”
Alice In Chains and Creature With the Atom Brain perform at 7 p.m. Friday, March 19, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $36.75 and $46.75. Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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